Interview with a former German lorry driver
A lorry driver who works in an IT company? A very unusual combination, but the reason is easy to explain. Jochen Dieckmann has worked 15 years as a lorry driver and has been almost all around in the world. In his career he has also been “all around” as a journalist, public relations manager for a politician, financial advisor and HGV driving instructor. Finally, Jochen is also an author, having written a book entitled “No time to sleep until the end of this month.”
For four years now, Jochen has been working in the marketing department of TimoCom, the company that operates the largest transport platform in Europe. His challenge: to improve the image of the road haulage industry. “Everyone wants the goods, but no one wants the lorries carrying them. In this sense, there is still much to do, “says Jochen.
“Not answering the mobile phone equal less money.”
Jochen looks back at the life of a lorry driver with nostalgia, but he also remembers the difficulties of the industry, the heavy work and poor pay. His last employer sent a letter to all drivers with the following content: Those who do not answer the phone, they will be deducted € 250 on the payroll the first time. The second time, they will be fired. “Once I had to pick up the phone, while I was in the shower,” remembers Jochen.
And such measures with a pay of € 1,700 per month. Although, the problem was not so much the amount, but much more the insecurity that one could ever know how much of the pay to expect in the end of the month, in other words: how much the employer would suddenly deduct.
But can one blame the companies for this situation? “Many companies, unfortunately, are not in a position to pay more,” says Jochen. “In Europe it is a price war due to differences between Europe and other countries. Furthermore, road hauliers have more and more difficulty finding qualified drivers. Jochen, in this regard, believes that the sector should react. In Germany, like in many other Western European countries, in the coming years there will certainly be a serious shortage of drivers. And this is due in large part to the fact that here the compulsory military service was abolished some years. “In my generation, at least a third of driving licenses for lorry was taken during military service.” Suffice it to say that that currently in Germany paying the license privately costs about € 5,000.
In fact, today, there are certainly many good reasons why a young man should not approach this profession. But Jochen does not want to discourage anyone. According to him, if in a few years the sector should have a sufficient number of drivers, it will be necessary to change the working conditions to make the profession more attractive. Nevertheless, being a lorry driver of course also has positive sides and advantages over the typical office work: “At the end of the day you do not have to go home, where a thousand chores are waiting to be done,” Jochen says with a wink in the eye and a smile on his lips.